Drive

                       "There's no good sharks?"

ryan-gosling-drive-007What struck me immediately was how lucky I was to only have seen it once after its release three years ago.

What do I love most about Drive? Widely hailed as arthouse action fare it’s addictively stylish, beautifully crafted and incredibly fresh. Much like Gosling’s character the film offers so much more than the opening sequence. Having said that, what Refn’s opening sequence does best is tell us a great deal about the protagonist by showing it, not saying it. Gosling as the Driver, doesn’t say a single word as he leads the cops on a futile chase through the streets of L.A. Having completed his moonlight work as a getaway driver he slips out into the crowd and onto the streets and we’re left wanting more. Clouding our vision is a sense of mystery that is slowly, gradually revealed to us as the film progresses and our want is not left unsatisfied.

What our journey boils down to is an incredible connection between an introvert and the girl next door. The relationship that forms throughout the film compels it forward as the Driver becomes more and more desperate to do anything and everything to ensure that this relationship isn’t taken away from him. His private battle between a simple life and a mysterious life of crime is delivered in a strangely innocent way and as they begin to merge we begin to understand more about his character than we could have ever guessed from the opening chase. He is headstrong, committed, violent, gentle, caring, loving, and the list goes on and on. The ability to combine as many disjunctive personality traits into one character can at times be exhausting but it also makes the film what it is. Without a troubled, necessarily confusing lead character the film would go down as a typical Hollywood crime thriller that struggles to deliver more than passionate kisses and explosions. Exactly the fact that it doesn’t feel like a Hollywood film in structure and predictability make the passionate moments welcome.

Like I mentioned earlier the film is a combination of an innocent love story and a crime thriller rolled into one. With the introduction of new characters a welcome addition as the plot gets thicker we begin to root for Gosling’s unnamed character in his pursuit of justice and happiness. The perfectly constructed soundtrack lifts the film to a whole new level. Most films incorporate the soundtrack as a means to an end but what Drive does is bring the film to life, each song complementing its scene. This perfect combination pulls the film together and draws its audience in.

The Driver’s life is summed up when he admits his relationship with Irene and her son Benicio was the best thing that ever happened to him. Until that moment in his life he had no direction, no ambition and no commitments. As his dream of a simple life drifts further away from his grasp we can’t help but feel sorry for him. What makes this film a Must-See is the way it all draws together. It flows seamlessly and we are left with a feeling of relief and slight dissatisfaction. But not a negative dissatisfaction. A movie doesn’t have to be about happy endings or predictable scenes. A great movie has the ability to connect with its audience no matter the outcome.

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